Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov directly accused Russia of planting agents who worked to worsen relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria. The relations are at a low point after the previous, Boyko Borisov Government in Bulgaria, placed a veto on Macedonia’s EU accession talks and raised deeply intrusive demands against Macedonia’s national identity.

Two Bulgarian agents were recently fired from their national security agency for spying for Russia, and Petkov is now claiming that their task was to delay the EU integration of the Balkans.

The people involved with this scandal open the issue of the extent of Russian interests and they worked in a specific direction – to prevent the European future of the Western Balkans and to endanger relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria, keeping them worse than they could be. It is very important for me to know that we had Russia intervention, specifically over the Western Balkans and Macedonia, Petkov told the press.

This adds to the push in Bulgaria to lift the veto in time for the June meeting of the European Council. But two key coalition partners in Petkov’s Government – BSP and ITN – are apparently still opposed to this. Petkov said that they, especially BSP, need to look for the long term interest of Bulgaria – to have Macedonia integrated as part of the European Union, and to have a stable Balkan region.